Sustainable Lifestyle Change
The best things in life, are free....
I have recently just finished a 6-week, diet and fitness course that was initiated after I had read about the £6B cost to the NHS for obesity related disease – that shocking number made me want to do more than clap my hands at 8pm.
Now, we are faced with increasing living costs that are going to hurt – from food to heating, fuel for cars, and clothing. Everyone is going to feel the pinch. And it struck me that there are so many things that we can do to improve our fitness, our health, our wellbeing – without costing the pennies.
Here are my ideas
Sleep – rest is crucial to the human body. Without it, we can’t think straight, make bad decisions, feel terrible, depress our immune system and are basically grouchy.
Enjoying a good night’s sleep is key – and a red flag for health if you are waking up many times in the night when you don’t have a new-born baby.
Melatonin is known as the “biological night” and is responsible for us feeling tired as it gets to bedtime. We can help melatonin do this by following these easy points:
Make sure that you have bright lights in the first 0-8 hours after waking – think sunlight or even ring light if the days are dark
Gradually reduce the light as the day goes along, and have dim light in the last hour before bed.
Reduce blue light - switch off phones, tablets and tv
Sunlight – it costs nothing to walk in the daylight. It only takes 10 minutes in the morning to boost your immune system, reduce your appetite and increase your focus and concentration. Do not think about it. Keep your boots or wellies by the door and step outside.
Walking – a free activity that is accessible to so many. Never skip the opportunity to take more steps.
Think about walking the stairs, and walking to work or walking in the garden or strolling to the shop.
No need for formal exercise – aim for 10K steps a day (5 miles) to keep you mind and body healthy.
Cardio work, regardless of intensity, has a positive effect on your heart. It will improve the strength of the heart muscle, it will develop more capillaries to deliver the oxygen, reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol.
The calorie burn from being active every day will help to burn off stored white fat, and the deep abdominal fat which is more harmful to health. The key here is to be consistent, so little and often – but then if you can, add in 3 longer walks per week and think about hills to really challenge your heart. Step out, look up, take a deep breath, and enjoy x
Diet – think like a Mediterranean.
Eat more plants, reduce your dairy, drink at mealtimes, and eat lots of fruit.
Research shows that this is the most successful diet of all-time.
It will boost your immune system, help you reduce your cholesterol, manage high blood pressure, improve your insulin tolerance, and help prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
One of the reasons that this is a successful diet is due to the balance of natural foods and oils, that are good and tasty to eat.
It also avoids the larger quantities of processed food that is so readily available and normalised – please think about small changes and swaps, or even adds to your meal. For example, adding more veg to each mealtime to increase fibre, vitamins, and minerals.
Hydration – every chemical reaction in your body requires water. Therefore, drink water, or tea or even coffee (but not pop).
The water will help your body deal with stress, repair, remove bad things and even help your circulation. From years of coaching, I know that you know this fact – but making it happen is often a hard habit to do.
Think about having a large jug of water in your fridge, so each time you open it, it reminds you to drink – and cold water is so much nicer than tepid. A glass by your bedside, desk, armchair are all good – you will sip these unconsciously, even if you don’t finish them.
Take Time – Much like rebooting your PC, there is great value in taking time each day to reflect on what happens.
You can do this in different ways - and if you see me talking to myself, you can probably guess mine! However, science shows us that this “defragging” of our brain is of great value.
Writing it down in a daily journal, thoughts, feeling, jobs, life – but aim to have a positive spin by appreciating the good things that happened that day.
Sit still and think - or keep your mind empty. But time to sit and stare is priceless
Be kind – not only to yourself, but to another person. The consideration of others has an indisputable effect on our own mental health and well-being. This does not have to cost money. Sit and talk with someone who lives alone, offer to babysit, or dog walk, tidy someone’s garden, pick litter, volunteer to a charity.
Breathing - yes, I know we all need to breathe….but there is also so much science out there looking at how we use the diaphragm (muscle that moves the chest cavity) and how that influences our wellbeing that it is worth taking seriously.
Energise your tired brain with 5 x repeats of 2 in breaths, breathing in through your nose, and one slow out breath.
A “physiological sigh” is a resetting technique that can provide relief for both humans and animals. It relieves anxiety, and reduces tension. Take a deep breath in, hold it and then breath out or sigh, heavily. Learning to do this consciously is better that letting nature do it for you.
Boost your serotonin (feel good hormone) by breathing in for 5 seconds, holding breath for 5 seconds (if possible), breathing us for 5 seconds, no breathing for 5 seconds. Repeat 3 times
Deep breathing is free and offers a range of calming and positive health benefits. Take the time eat sit still and fill the breathing patterns. You might feel foolish to begin with, but you will soon feel the benefits and forget about the doubters
And there we go – proven ways to boost your health and well-being, without costing a penny x
To support your journey to health, I offer a range of online courses and classes that are effective - and more importantly, affordable. If you like to have the chance to exercise when you like, take a look at the online videos, or if you like to join in live, I have Café Spring starting 5th March, but first, Café Menopause from the 28th February 2022 x